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Islamic Criminal Justice System -- Legislation and Application (From Resource Material Series No. 36, P 227-234, 1989 -- See NCJ-135660)

NCJ Number
H El-Sa'aty
Date Published
8 pages
Ethical doctrines in Islam are closely associated with the law, and the Islamic concept of justice in Saudi Arabia is based on fair dealing and equity.
Islamic legislation in Saudi Arabia views meting out punishments for crimes as one of God's prerogatives to protect humanity from evil and to attain peace and security. Crimes are sanctioned by fixed punishments (adultery, defamation, alcohol use, theft, highway robbery, apostasy from Islam, and attempting a coup d'etat), by retaliation and blood money (premeditated murder, semipremeditated murder, murder by error, premeditated offense against human life short of murder, and offense by error against human life short of murder), and by discretionary punishments (crimes not previously mentioned). Islamic law is intended to deter and discourage crime, to punish the criminal, and to rehabilitate the criminal. Criminal responsibility is based on two principles: (1) punishment is a social necessity imposed to protect society and safeguard public interests and (2) punishment is inflicted on persons who are sane and able to discern and exercise their own free will. Islamic law emphasizes crime prevention which can be achieved through moral education and upbringing. With regard to evidence, any testimony not given within a prescribed time period is considered null and void. Islamic courts are independent, and judicial selection is based on high standards, capability, and loyalty. There are courts to handle criminal matters as well as courts of summary jurisdiction, courts of first instance, courts of appeal, and a supreme court. In Saudi Arabia, the accused is innocent until proven guilty.